The Pimm’s Cup shows up in so many New Orleans bars that many visitors think the drink is a New Orleans creation. This would come as a surprise to James Pimm of London, who invented the drink’s signature ingredient in the 1830s. So, how did a British beverage become a mainstay of New Orleans drink menus? In the late 1940s, Joe Impastato took over running the Napoleon House, the restaurant that had been in his family since the 1920s. During his tenure, according to family lore, what was primarily a sandwich shop slowly became a bar, which led to an increase liquor sales. Joe didn’t like to see people get too drunk or rowdy in his establishment, so he encouraged them to sip on less alcoholic beverages such as the Pimm’s Cup.
The cocktail is made with lemonade, cucumber, and the British liqueur Pimm’s #1, a gin-based spirit containing a secret mixture of herbs and liqueurs. Served in a collins glass and garnished with a cucumber, the Pimm’s Cup is a perfect thirst quencher for New Orleans summer drinking. It satisfies without getting you hammered. Pimm’s Cup sales at the Napoleon House continue to soar, and the bar is now the Pimm’s company’s largest North American account.
THE PIMM’S CUP NEW ORLEANS Photo Gallery
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